Quotes: Pretty

“You have such a pretty face. You should lose weight.”
— Relatives

“A pretty face and fine clothes do not make character”
— Anon

“Who cares about pretty? I’m going for noticeable.”
— Veronica Roth

“It has been said that a pretty face is a passport. But it’s not, it’s a visa, and it runs out fast.””
— Julie Burchill

“After all those years as a woman hearing ‘not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough,’ almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I’m enough.'”
— Anna Quindlen

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small. ”
— Neil Armstrong

Series of quotes: Poor

“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.”
– Herman Melville

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
– Anatole France

“When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

“The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.”
– Willem de Kooning

“When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.”
– Dom Helder Camara

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
– John F. Kennedy

Feel free to add more or discuss in the comments ;)

Being An Adult

My favorite thing about being an adult — about having a nice home to live in and an amazing-and-wonderful-and-often-super-difficult job and a loving/working marriage and debt that I pay on time — is that I get to self-determine what my grown-up life looks like. Being able to choose to do (and yes, even to buy) silly shit without remorse or self-recrimination is my greatest reward for being a grown up; being able to trust that it’s okay to like the things I like and to not worry about whether they’re appropriate or acceptable is one of the best feelings in the world.

— Lesley Kinzel at XOJane

“Now that you’re an adult, take refuge in the fact that some things are beyond your control. You owe it to yourself to steer clear of people who are harmful to your health.”

― Andrea LavinthalYour So-Called Life: A Guide to Boys, Body Issues, and Other Big-Girl Drama You Thought You Would Have Figured Out by Now

“Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.”
― Dr. Seuss

Things to Read

Free speech means that yes, you get to say anything you want (with some legal limits regarding libel and slander laws, advocating harm of another person or threatening someone with death or bodily harm, blackmail, all that), but free speech also means that other people get to say what they want, too, whether you like it or not.

Free speech does not mean the freedom to not be called an asshole.

Free speech also does not mean  you get off scott-free for saying legally actionable things about or to other people.

Threatening people is not protected under free speech.  Just in case you were getting any ideas.


I felt that people would look at me and assume I was diseased, and shudder and move away. And even though I was doing something ostensibly good for my health, this understanding and awareness that people find me gross did not make it easier or more rewarding to care for my health.

The Fat Nutritionist

QOTD: Health

The debate about what exactly health means goes back to ancient Greece. Does health just mean living a long time? Does it mean feeling strong? Are athletes the epitomy of health? In fact, athletes suffer more injuries and illnesses than the rest of the population because they push themselves so hard. So who represents health? What about spiritual health? Ethical health? It’s amazing how much we project onto body type these days, through our grossly oversimplified idea of health.

Ben Spatz

QOTD: Dealing with family

Because I don’t engage in fat hating comments or conversations I really just feel more and more like the black sheep from the family. Many of my family members have undergone bariatric surgery so the stress between them and myself is even worse. I have had one cousin who is a lot older than me tell me how proud she is of me for the work I am doing, but my aunt who is her mother left the room during the conversation because she acts like this portion of my life doesn’t exist to her.

— Amanda Levitt, quoted at Fat and the Ivy

Rebecca Puhl on Chris Christie & Weight Bias

Rebecca Puhl is the director of research at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale.  The Rudd Center is pro-weight loss, which can be disconcerting to run across on their website. Nonetheless, they do useful research on weight discrimination and health, not to mention writing articles for CNN on how weight discrimination affects the news coverage of NJ Gov Chris Christie.

How common is [weight discrimination]? It may seem less significant compared with discrimination on the basis of gender or race, but it is rapidly increasing and no less important. Research shows that weight discrimination in the United States has increased by 66% over the past decade. It is now the third-most common type of discrimination reported by women, and the fourth most common among men. Recent estimates even show that weight discrimination is comparable to prevalence rates of racial discrimination.

Weight discrimination is especially common in the jobs setting. Decades of research have shown that overweight and obese employees are much less likely to be hired than thinner employees (even with identical, or better qualifications), they receive lower wages, are less likely to be promoted and are more likely to be fired from their jobs, compared with thinner employees.

Criticism of Christie’s weight suggests this prejudice exists even if the job under consideration is at the highest levels of government — and it isn’t the first time. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin’s excess weight was publicly censured and critiqued in the media discussion over her appointment, often eclipsing consideration of her impressive credentials, awards and accomplishments. […]

Dr Puhl also attacks the “but what about his health” worries:

We cannot make assumptions about Christie’s health status, let alone the health status of other thinner political candidates. There are many overweight individuals who eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly; there are many thin individuals who smoke cigarettes, drink too much alcohol, eat poorly, have high blood pressure and are sedentary. Being thin is not an automatic indicator of health, and neither is being overweight. If Christie’s health status is to be scrutinized, then the health status of his political peers should be scrutinized as well.

To be clear: There is no reason to assume that a person can’t be an effective political leader simply because of his or her body weight. Discounting an individual’s credentials, training, abilities or accomplishments because of body weight is discriminatory. And it communicates an unfair, harmful message that a person’s talents and contributions to society have lesser value if that person is obese.

As a bonus, I was pleased to see that Dr Puhl did NOT say anything about whether Gov Christie should attempt weight loss  — quite refreshing in an article of this type.  Whether an individual, including Gov Christie, chooses to attempt something as risky as weight loss is nobody else’s business.  

(Even if Gov Christie attempted weight loss, he would not necessarily have immediate or noticeable results, so guess what?  Other people might not notice … and again, it’s not any of their business. )

QOTD: Fitness and fatness

From Reuters, on a study in patients with coronary artery disease that looked at fitness levels and BMI:

[Heart specialist and study leader Dr. Francisco] Lopes-Jimenez said, the lesson for patients is clear: try to improve your physical fitness. “It is much easier to become fit than it is to become slim,” he said. “Anybody who has gone into an exercise program would agree with that.”

While Lopes-Jimenez seems to presume his patients want to exercise (or otherwise take action to improve their health) it is radical to see a heart specialist stating that a person can improve their fitness without being slim.  Or that exercise doesn’t automagically cause slimness.  Or that it can be easier to become fitter than to become thinner — which has certainly been true in my case.

Disease Doesn’t Mean You’re A Bad Person

Very early in my career, I participated in a study of young women who were hospitalized and awaiting the results of biopsies to determine if they had cervical cancer. While I was interviewing one of my patients, the biopsy results of the woman in the next bed came back to her — negative. The fortunate woman’s father, who was there with her, said in relief: “We’re good people. We deserve this.” It was a perfectly understandable response, but what should my patient have said to herself when her biopsy came back positive? That she got cancer because she wasn’t a good person?

It is difficult enough to be injured or gravely ill. To add to this the burden of guilt over a supposed failure to have the right attitude toward one’s illness is unconscionable. Linking health to personal virtue and vice not only is bad science, it’s bad medicine.
—- Richard P. Sloan

I understand that people want to believe they have control over their own health.  I understand that choosing a positive attitude can be a coping mechanism.   But we don’t have a duty to have the “correct attitude” about illness.


Microagressions is a site about venting those little racist/sexist/classist dings that hit throughout the day.  Some examples:

“Excuse me, do you speak English?”  Man at the bus stop.  I am an Asian American woman.  I was reading Jane Austen.  In English.

“Wow, from talking to you on the phone, I’d never know that you were a fat girl. You don’t sound fat at all.”  My friend’s grandmother, upon our first meeting.

Woman in store:: You’re so skinny, you must be anorexic.
Me:: No, not anorexia – Grave’s disease.

My friend tells me that he doesn’t think women should be engineers because when women join a traditionally male profession, average salaries go down whereas when men join a traditionally female profession, salaries go up.  We are both majoring in engineering, and I am a woman.

If you want to vent, it’s a good place.  If you want to get a better understanding of some of the fail out there?  Also a good place.

Things to Read

A review of the book Deadly Spin, which is an inside look at how for-profit insurance companies use PR to make their policies palatable.

From a piece on why the L.A. public schools are not participating in a reality TV show: “Reality TV has a formula. You either have to have drama or create conflict to be successful. We’re not interested in either.”

And this was nicely put:

Conflating fatness with binge eating is no different from conflating anorexia with thinness.  You can’t tell how someone eats from how they look.

On a more humorous note, apparently Han Solo (in carbonite) appeared in many episodes of Firefly.  Which reminds me of this song…

Lyrics are on in this here PDF.

Poverty’s Link to Diabetes

[C]onventional wisdom about Type 2 diabetes would suggest that once obesity, lack of physical activity and other lifestyle risk factors were taken into account, diabetes incidence rates would even out between lower- and higher-income groups….

[A recent study found that] for men, being in the lowest-income category (earning less than $15,000 per year), doubles the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to being in one of the highest-income brackets (earning more than $80,000 per year). The risk remains the same when other risk factors are taken into account, such as education, body mass index and physical activity levels.

The findings are even more striking for women in the lowest-income category. For them, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is more than triple the risk of women in the highest-income category. When education, body mass index and physical activity levels are taken into account, the risk is still well more than double. — CTV

Like other discussion of diabetes risk factors, this is looking at correlation. In looking at other risk factors, a family history of the disease doubles the risk as well.  Other diabetes risk factors that dovetail in with “not enough money” include: stress/cortisol; depression; inadequate sleep; lack of exercise (and while some living in poverty have very physical jobs, they may not get the relaxation and stress-relief benefits that tend to go with leisure-time exercise) and while it’s probably not an official risk factor I doubt that food insecurity would help prevent diabetes.

Quick: Men get Photoshopped too; Diet Wars; Where the Heck Have I Been?

This short shows before/after shots for a fictional bodybuilding product that were shot on the same day.  The man in question really does look heavier in the before — due to lighting, positioning, makeup, and Photoshop.

Epictetus was born in 55AD. I looked him up when a “quote of the day” site came up with his “Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent.”   What struck me was realizing that humans have been arguing over the “correct” diet for thousands of years.   Offering new foods or tastes is one thing; arguing and prescribing foods is frustrating.

Btw: Yes, I didn’t post at all last week. Work has been mega-stressful.  I’ve been focusing on self-care and dropping some of my more optional activities.   I’ve also been listening to music a lot and periodically watching this:

(Yeah, I’ve posted it before, but I still like it a lot.  So.)

Things to Read

From Marianne Kirby at The Rotund:

FA represents a long chain of people coming to the realization that the diet roller coaster is, to mix my metaphors, a sucker bet. The diet industry – when you get down to the bare, capitalist bones of it – has quite a lot of profit to be made from making people, especially women, feel awful about their bodies and their weight. If we all felt awesome about ourselves, they would go out of business.

From Nudemuse on some recent posts about fat and feminism:

[T]here seems to be some gap in a lot of feminist thought when it comes to granting fat women the same agency they might give to a woman who wants to do something else with her body.
No one likes being told, hey you might enjoy bread but you can’t have any because I think it would be best for you.

Now, I don’t know about you folks but my first reaction to that kind of condescension is to say, oh really, okay fuck you.

Maybe people with this mind set are trying to come from a loving place. If you are trying to come from a loving place think about it this way; if it was your life your body how would you feel about some stranger telling you what’s good for you in this manner? If it would upset you, don’t fucking say it.

And April at Round is a Shape on setting a boundary with her mother:

One phrase that I uttered early on in the day when my mother started to bemoan the fact that she was so hungry (after an early morning and only a granola bar she was feeling guilty for daring to feel famished by noon after driving 1.5 hours to see us!) and relay her guilt about going for a piece of bread or another pierogi: “This home is free of food judgments”.  And, happily, this was the last of self-recriminations that we really heard or voiced all day.


Another HAES Quote

This quote on Health At Every Size is from Michelle, aka The Fat Nutritionist.  Links within the quote were added by me.

[D]ieting purports to make all people lose weight, permanently. Because 80-95% of the people who engage in it do not lose weight permanently, dieting fails as an intervention. It fails to achieve its stated directive, and it also doesn’t seem to help people permanently pick up healthier eating/moving behaviours.

Whereas HAES does not purport to do *anything* to a person’s weight. It purports to encourage healthier eating and moving. And while only a few people might lose weight, just like in dieting, HAES succeeds as an intervention — because the goal was to engage in healthier behaviours, not to lose weight, in the first place. Evidence has shown (in Linda Bacon’s study) that HAES does actually succeed in getting people to adopt healthier eating and moving behaviours that stick around for the long-term.

I realize that this is not always an either-or.  But for many fat people, it’s assumed that either you are actively trying to lose weight through eating “better” or eating less or exercising more … and the weight not coming off, or not staying off, is then a reason to quit the healthy behaviors.

Thanks Frances at Corpulent for linking to Michelle’s post on Health At Every Size.

Fat Acceptance Quote for Parents and Teachers

If you exercise as “punishment” for weighing too much, how can you learn to enjoy being active? If you eat salads only as a way to change the body you hate, how will you enjoy the wonderful tastes of fresh vegetables?

Besides, if hating one’s body effectively motivated change, do you really think there would be many heavy people in the world?

Accepting yourself as you are today doesn’t mean giving up. It means learning to live in the present with the body you have. It means facing and acknowledging reality.

— Linda Bacon, PhD, in Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight.